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Rural Sustainability

Your course
Rural issues have moved to the top of the international agenda in terms of delivering sustainability on key resources and supporting populations. This MA is a full-time graduate course delivered over three semesters, directed primarily at graduates from the social sciences interested in furthering their knowledge and ability to impact on rural processes, policy and practice. It addresses the continued importance of agriculture and farming as a key sector.

This programme is theoretically informed and has a strong field based and applied focus, offered in response to new debates on sustainability for rural areas.

The following modules are offered: Conceptualizing the Rural—Policy, Strategy and Governance; The Multifunctional Countryside; Research Methodologies; Practising Rural Geography; Rural Development and Communication for Rural Innovation; Rural Community and Field-based Learning (International Field-Based Learning Experience); Dissertation (Research Paper).

Entry requirements

Minimum entry requirements
QQI Level 8 degree, Second Class Honours, or equivalent, with a 2:1 in Geography or a related subject. Selection is based on a candidate's academic record at undergraduate level, statement of intent and academic letters of recommendation.


1 year, full-time.

Careers or further progression

Career Opportunities
As a graduate, you will be equipped to work in a variety of contexts requiring the ability to conceptualise rural-related issues and apply this knowledge to policy, management and consultancy scenarios. Potential employers include national and international organisations with a rural development remit, groups and consultancies related to government programmes, and government departments. This MA programme can also become a stepping stone to PhD research.

Further enquiries

Dr Maura Farrell
T: +353 91 494 118

Dr Marie Mahon
T: +353 91 492 376

Dr John McDonagh
T: +353 91 492 569


1. Inspirational teaching: This programme seeks both to facilitate students and challenge them to engage with and go beyond established conceptual and theoretical perspectives on rural issues, engage in new ways of understanding in dealing with contemporary rural complexities, and develop critical insights that can support policy and practice in sustaining the rural environment.

2. €3,000 student prize: The Patrick Commins Rural Research Award will be presented to the best overall student (€3,000 prize sponsored by Teagasc).

3. International Field Based Learning: This MA course provides a practical opportunity to explore situations and settings within rural locations and rural communities in a European country, and focuses on on-going social, cultural, political and economic concerns pertinent to those places and populations.

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